In Their Own Words: US Presidents Vs. Central Banking


Our nation was founded at a time when many citizens believed that private banking interests in England had undue influence on the laws and actions of the monarchy. This belief was reflected in the words of the leaders elected to represent the early nation.

Our earliest presidents were very skeptical about banks and fiat currency. They spoke and wrote about it openly. Our founding fathers even included specific instructions in the U.S. Constitution about how money should be created and by whom (hint: it’s not the Federal Reserve). In fact, delegates at the Constitutional Convention even rejected a clause that would allow Congress to print paper money.

Our first president wrote in a letter to Jabez Bowen on January 9, 1787: “Paper money has had the effect in your state that it will ever have, to ruin commerce, oppress the honest, and open the door to every species of fraud and injustice.”

Washington’s successor, John Adams, was similarly disposed, writing in a letter to Thomas Jefferson that same year that “ignorance of the nature of coin, credit and circulation” was the only cause of confusion and distress in America.

Thomas Jefferson himself also provided many scathing quotes against the bankers and their interests, including the famous quote taken from a letter he wrote to John Taylor in which he stated: “And I sincerely believe, with you, that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.”

Perhaps the most vehement and colorful of early presidential opposition to banks came from “Old Hickory”, our seventh president, Andrew Jackson. When speaking in 1834 to a citizens committee in Philadelphia on his reasons for not re-chartering the Bank of the United States, Jackson declared: “I have undergone much peril for the liberties of this people, and Andrew Jackson yet lives to put his boot upon the head of the monster and crush him [in] the duel.” Never one to mince words, Jackson continued: “I would rather undergo the tortures of ten Spanish Inquisitions than that the deposits should be restored, or the monster be re-charted.”

Vocal opposition to the banks continued throughout the 19th century, with two of the biggest presidential opponents – Lincoln and Garfield – being assassinated in the last half of the century.

Of course, the passage of Federal Reserve Act of 1913 rendered all of these opinions moot, and now we are all living according to a monetary philosophy that was disdained and feared by the very framers of nation and its founding documents.

This video provides some more detail on early presidential opposition to central banking and paper currency, as well as the establishment of America’s central bank:

Also, for more information on the Federal Reserve and the private banking industry’s efforts to control the world’s resources, read G. Edward Griffin’s fascinating book, “The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve”.